Patio weather is upon us. Think beyond the average rosé and fill your menu instead with these complex and refreshing summertime picks from wine experts across the country.

Fizzy Pét-Nats

“I just recently tasted a fantastic sparkling Rosato from Channing Daughters winery from Long Island. Channing Daughters 2017 Pétillant Naturel made from 57 percent Syrah and 37 percent Cabernet Franc. This wine is a bit less ‘fizzy’ than a Champagne, and it should be drunk in a wine glass. It was tart and tangy with some fresh citrus notes with texture of a fine mousse [fine bubbles] and a lively finish with notes of red berries and a hint of orange rind. Such a fun and groovy wine to have by itself or a wide variety of food—Mexican or Indian fare comes to mind. Pét-Nats are all the rage now!”
– Beth von Benz, wine director | Fifty, New York City

South African

“The increasingly popular ‘Black Panther’ movie and its important storyline will continue expanding its cultural influence well into the summer by bringing attention to wines from South Africa, most notably The House of Mandela, [which] is owned by a direct descendant of Nelson Mandela and produces wines under a variety of labels. A portion of its profits are donated to the House of Mandela Family Foundation and the Africa Rising Foundation, which coincides with the trend of consumers specifically seeking out environmentally and socially responsible brands.” – Eric Loring, beverage director | Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, Boston

“I think South Africa is getting some much-needed recognition and is going to be really making its mark this year as consumers are getting more familiar with what the winemakers are doing in the cooler appellations like Walker Bay and Elgin.”
– Seth Wilson, wine director/sommelier | Booth One, Chicago

Orange wine

“We’ll continue to see a growth of lesser-known varietals and skin-contact wines. I see wines from Spanish and Australian regions gaining more notoriety as well, because of their incredible quality and diversity.” 
George Saldez, owner and general manager | The Press Room, Chicago


“This summer should be the summer of Txakoli! If you happen to get your hands on a bottle of the Basque specialty, it’s where the ocean meets the grape. Think of it as the adult version of lemonade on a hot summer day. It’s refreshing and pairs well with so many different dishes.”
– Colton Wright, bar manager | Bar Mercado, Atlanta

Refined rosé

“Most people think of rosé as a light, refreshing, chuggable wine, but I’m predicting that once the weather warms up, people will spend more time seeking out rosés that are more complex, distinctive, and taste like the terroirs from which they come from, like Annona Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo or Chateau Pradeaux Bandol. Producers that are known for really high-quality red and white wines are now taking their rosés more seriously.”
– Joe Campanale, owner and beverage director | Fausto, Brooklyn, New York

“Single varietal rosés will be coming into fashion more as opposed to blends. They make for more interesting wines by allowing a grape to show a lighter shade of red while still offering something unique.”
– Matt Poli, beverage director | The Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tennessee


“The Hungarian Furmint invasion will continue with the dry wine showcasing light body, zippy acid, and refreshing ripe fruit. They beg for a seat at the raw bar, as well as with shellfish and spicier foods. These wines should be on all seafood-heavy menus.”
– Brent Noll, general manager | Waterbar, San Diego

Chilled red

“Styles are shifting to accommodate red wine drinkers who might want to drink red through the summer or with their fish dishes. The ‘New California’ movement has made ‘glou-glou’ (glug glug) style wines popular for young (and old) vintners in California, who are making lighter-bodied reds to drink chilled in the summer or with fish.”
– Olivia Moravec, wine director | UNI, Boston


“Although I’m no millennial, I’ve noticed this age group is generally more open-minded in exploring regions that are lesser-known. This might be why the Greek wine export to the U.S. is becoming bigger every year, as millennials explore and diversify their tastes. For whites, look for Assyrtiko from Santorini, and some of the other islands such as Crete or Milos. For summer-friendly reds, look for Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko, which are starting to pick up traction.”
– Paola Embry, CEO and wine director | Wrigley Mansion, Phoenix

Complex thirst quenchers

“Wine drinkers want complexity and nuance to pique their interest while quenching their thirst. I predict that I’ll be drinking Fino sherry, lightly sparkling wines, and white vermouth over ice with a splash of soda, such as Orleans Borbon Manzanilla sherry (Jerez, Spain), Avinyó Petillant (Penedes, Spain), and Yzaguirre Blanco vermouth. Each deliver savory, fragrant character presented in a slick, quaffable package.”
– Nick Quiñones, general manager | Cooks & Soldiers, Atlanta

Beverage, Feature